bronco ... why are you having such hard time composing stuff ?? i really don't understand u having such hard time trying to compose.
for now, forget about compositions full of things here and there, left and right and centre..
seriously if you were to just put that rose on a piece of white sheet and shoot, it would be less distractive.
and second recommendation if i may, is try trusting your cameras exposure meter. nikon really works with pro's to configure those things and while different exposures can bring out some creativity, its better to follow the basic principles first.
this is a snap shot. it took like i don't know less then 5 seconds to think compose and shoot.
all i did was look at my exposure metering at the bottom of my viewfinder u know that
(........|........) thing at the bottom. made sure its in the middle. also made sure i was focused properly and press the shutter button.
There's a really good book for noobs that would help him exponentially, its' called Understanding Exposure that would be much more benificial than a dozen new lenses or twenty new bodies and some flashes that he's having trouble using correctly.
I've read it, it's got tons of good information, helps people understand what the correleation between apeture, shutter speed, ISO is as well as basic composition.
Seriously, buy that instead of a new lens next time you're on ebay, it'll help.
I reckon an ND filter would have helped having an even longer exposure, smoothing out some of the water even more... This was shot at F22, 1.3s (or maybe 1.5s, can't remember). Anyway, found it to be a nice try .